This is a cat who is no longer a kitten, a cat of unexpected consequences. I set out to sketch from a photo I stumbled into online of a fluffy yellow kitten, all wide-eyed innocence. (I would credit the photographer, but I can’t find it again on the Internet and I vaguely remember it was by someone using a pseudonym that had the word flowers in it. Sorry!) I saw the photo and immediately thought – hey, cool shadows. Very exaggerated. Wonder if I could make that work? Without even making so much as a pencil guideline for placing the eyes, I grabbed my Pentel brush pen, drew a border, and slapped on a couple of whiskers. Footdang – too bold to capture the kittenish fluff. But I was already committed, so I kept going. Not bad, but with each stroke the cat got older, further and further away from generic cute kitty. Closer and closer to a real personality. Interesting.
I switched to colored pencil, then watercolor. The watercolor wash wasn’t dark enough, and the paper wouldn’t take another wet layer, so I let it dry and switched back to dark colored pencil. Still too pale. Back to the brush pen – bingo! I don’t think I’ve ever felt as good about contrast in one of my sketches as I do about this one.
As usual in a portrait, there’s something not quite right about the mouth, or rather the chin. But what a sense of accomplishment. And next time, I will draw those few pencil lines just to get my bearings before I bring out the ink.